ASH Emeritus member Eugene Goldwasser, PhD, of the University of Chicago, died on December 17, 2010, at his home in Chicago, IL, of complications of prostate cancer. He was 88. Known as “the father of Epo,” Dr. Goldwasser, the Alice Hogge and Arthur A. Baer Professor Emeritus of Biochemistry and Molecular Biology, was the first scientist to isolate and purify erythropoietin, or Epo, in the late 1970s. Dr. Goldwasser and his team produced a purified sheep form of erythropoietin in 1971, followed by the human variety in 1977. The first successful clinical trial took place in 1985. By 1986, mass production of Epo had begun. As a result of Dr. Goldwasser’s revolutionary discovery, millions of dialysis patients and anemic patients with other diseases are able to live longer and more productive lives. “The enormous success of Epo still astonishes me,” Dr. Goldwasser wrote in a 1996 biographical essay.1 “It is still gratifying to me to see how effective Epo is in correcting the anemia of dialysis patients, and how it spares them repeated transfusions.”
Read more about how Dr. Goldwasser’s discoveries helped advance the treatment of anemia in The Story of Erythropoietin by John W. Adamson, MD, part of ASH’s 50 Years in Hematology series at www.hematology.org/Publications/50-Years-in-Hematology/4726.aspx.
- Goldwasser E. Erythropoietin: a somewhat personal history. Perspect Biol Med. 1996;40:18-32.